Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My name is Mattias Olsson and Im a hoarder.

So last night was one of those nights that usually happen in early January when you decide that its time to sort out "that" mess in the studio. So me and my wife spent 3-4 hours working on putting up shelves trying to get the stacks and stacks of drums organized and in somekind of order. But still when we left the studio I couldnt really see any difference. There are cases and dormant instruments...everywhere. Some of them are mine others are just visiting for years on end. A problem is of course a couple of illusions that I still harbour.

1. I still harvest the dream that I will repair things. 
Even that little organesque thing that I found at a fleamarket under a mummyfied mouse that needs a power supply/keys/drumheads. I think that there will come a day when I will start going through the entire studio and make notes in a cool little leather book about everything that is slightly wonky and then hand it to someone who is a general electronics wizard and also very handy with wood and formica. To my surprise she is extremely cheap because she likes tinkering with things and its nice diversion from her day job as international jewel thief/brain surgeon/hamster trainer. Two weeks later it will return sounding better than ever. And when I turn on that little weezy Hohner organ I will realize "My God! This is the sound that I have been searching for all these years. This will change everything". 
In reality I have stacks of amazing equipment that needs a little work on the key D. Will I ever sort it out...? Probably not.

2. "Sure you can drop off you grand piano/pipe organ/elephant drum! I have 280 m2! I have room...". 
Currently there are two baby grand pianos, three uprights and one piano frame in the studio. How does that happen? Because when you have the room you can...But when is it too much stuff stacked on top of each other? Ask someone else as I apparently have no idea. Apparently Eric Satie had two pianos stacked on top of each other. As well as 100 umbrellas and 84 identical handkerchiefs. Im not that weird, am I?

Umbrella number #54 and Eric Satie.

3. The illusion of value. 
The illusion that everything old, formicadressed and vintage will be worth something in the future. I think anyone who has some old gear is terrified of doing the classic "Yeah I had one of those in the 80s but double manual Mellotrons with Wakemans original shemale choirs were terribly out of fashion so I gave it to my nephew who used it first as a urinal fort and then let his sad rabies smitten pet kangaroo live in it. They put it out on the street three years later. How much would that be worth today?". I have probably 30 or 35 organs. They are cool and all but their actual worth? Probably not that much. But if I just wait 30 years....

3,5. Its worth even more because I have used it on an album or a song. 
This is one of the illusions I struggle with the most. I cant part with things that I have used because somewhere in my head I feel its emotional worth has increased because it was used on a specific track. It has nothing to do with the actual monetary value. It exists in a musical world so therefor it should exist in the "real" world too.  

4. Its better to have two of something than one. 
Yeah because if unit #1 breaks. I have a spare. And if the spare breaks I have a another one. Its also great to be able to have two in stereo. Makes perfect sense right?

Unimaginative Jonny Greenwood with his yawny CR-78 in the background. If only he had a Olson.

5. The music improves by variation in instruments and sounds. 
I have maybe 7 or 8 old organ autokomp machines and I love them dearly. Amongst them is the CR-78 which sounds amazing but when I look at the pile of drum machines I always think. I wont use that...its so much cooler to use the Olson beat drummachine because its so much rarer and people havent heard it. The problem is that I use that drummachine on everything so if you have heard my albums over the last 15 years chances are you have heard it on something. My wish to make it special and unique loops into the ordinary and pedestrian. I think this stems from being in a prog band where sounds were fairly limited. We had a hammond organ, a mellotron and a moog. And the genre wants the sounds to sound like they do. If the Mellotron doesnt sound like a Mellotron people get nervous and twitchy.

So nowadays I can use a different organ or analog synth on pretty much every song. Does the music improve because of that? Of course not. But I have some weird belief that 

6. I havent used it in 15 years but I know that there will be a song soon that needs that sound. what is the solution to this unnecessary hoarding? Well the problem is that I dont really have to do anything about it....right now. Which one day will become a huge problem. As a person in a 12 step programme I think I need to set short term goals and long term goals. I had a daydream that if I hadn't used a piece of gear in 18 months it would miraculously end up on ebay and the money would just appear on my account.

The last days of the Polar studio. from left to right Benny Andersson, Agneta etc etc etc

There is also another solution. Get shitloads of creative musicians and artists into the studio and let people have access to the gear...? Record loads of weird sounding albums with extremely talented musicians. Makes more sense than setting fire to my collection of ultrarare italian flea market melodikas doesnt it?

Oh yeah...and song of the day...

Needs some tuning love but still pretty good.


  1. Great blog, with love the enabler.


  2. Hola. I feel that I've stumbled down the rabbit home.